oral cancer
The Government has acknowledged the role dentists can play in the fight against oral cancer

The Government and health ministers have acknowledged the vital role dentists play in detecting oral cancer.

In Thursday’s Westminster Hall debate on tobacco control strategy, ministers acknowledged that dentists should be part of a joined-up approach to tackling the rising number of oral cancer cases.

‘The spike in oral cancer cases shows precisely why we need real joined-up thinking across our health service,’ Mick Armstrong, chair of the BDA, said.

‘We are seeing a preventable disease on the rise, a killer that has a 90% survival rate – but only if it’s spotted early.

‘We’ve told MPs that dentists are uniquely placed to help turn the tide on oral cancer.

‘When it comes to prevention and diagnosis we welcome acknowledgement – from both government and opposition – that our profession needs to be part of the emerging strategy.’

In the debate Jane Ellison, the Public Health Minister, said: ‘We received welcome information today from the British Dental Association setting out how dentists can help with smoking reduction and the identification of oral cancer.

‘We will consider that further as we develop the [new tobacco control] strategy.

‘That is welcome and timely news.’